I am having a hard time trying to figure out which mezzanine card to use in our blade servers (half size). We currently run vSphere 4 on rackmount servers with 3 four port nics installed for a total of 12 interfaces available to ESX. We do this for redundancy and increased bandwidth. If I use the 10G mezzanine card it looks like it only presents 2 10G nics to the ESX server. Even though the bandwidth is great, this is a far cry from the 12 nics we have for redundancy. The virtual NIC card looks good because it can present up to 128 "physical" interfaces to the ESX server. I need to have interfaces for my LAN traffic, my iSCSI SAN traffic, and my console ports. Which would be my best option?
Thanks for any help you can provide.
With the 10GB solution you assign both 10GB NIC's to a single vSwitch. You can then use port groups/VLAN's to segregate your iSCSI traffic to it's isolated VLAN. Prior to the 10GB solution the best practice was to isolate iSCSI traffic onto its own physical network for full bandwidth. With 10GB iSCSI can exist on the same physical adapter as your production traffic, but use port groups/VLAN's to isolate the traffic. I am running iSCSI storage in this configuration and have had no issues with iSCSI traffic. With DCE I am actually getting much better iSCSI performance.
Some thoughts to help you
1) Do you need FC? If so, forget Oplin/Intel and think Menlo/Qlogic/Emulex or Palo/Cisco
2) Don't worry about redundancy, it's very well catered for with just two NICs connecting to separate redundant fabrics with a consistent configurion (e.g. same VLANs).
3) Having less NICs is a Good Thing not a Bad Thing.
4) If you choose Menlo with the 2 x 10GbE then you will most likely create 1 vSwitch with two uplinks and port groups for each of your VLANs - COS, VMs x whatever, VMotion etc.
5) You can only apply QOS (guarantees and other stuff) to the Virtual Interface, not per VLAN, so if you want to get fancy then Palo is your option.
6) Lots / most UCS customers are quite happy with 2 x 10GbE NICs ... it's just, different, and better.